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MSc | Postgraduate Taught

Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
  • Overview

    This is a professionally-oriented higher degree for those who intend to follow a career in English Language Teaching (ELT) and teachers who wish to extend and develop their knowledge of teaching English language learners.

    The programme enables participants to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to devise and teach effective English language courses, in addition to equipping students with the essential research and analytical skills to keep up with the rapid developments in the field of TESOL and Applied Linguistics.

    One of the key features of the MSc TESOL is the emphasis on learning through interaction; much of the course is organised around class-based data.

    Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages highlights

    Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REf, 2014).

    Student Experience

    • Small-group teaching Learning is facilitated through face-to-face interaction with peers and experienced academic tutors.
    • Flexibility Diploma and Certificate options are also available.
    • Credit transfer Students who have completed other masters-level awards, eg PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer. The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.
    • Professionally-focused assessment There are no written examinations. All modules are assessed by written assignments which have a professional focus. Examples include: case studies, language analysis, and coursebook evaluations. Formative assessment practices to support students are key features of MSc TESOL modules.

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

    The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).

    Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

    Course DetailsCore Modules include (all 20 CATS):

    An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education
    This introductory research methods module is compulsory for all Masters students in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and assumes no previous experience or knowledge of research methods. The aim of the module is to provide a general research overview and to contextualize the broad range of approaches and debates that are evident within contemporary educational research.

    Language Awareness for TESOL
    This module will consider the different systems and skills of the English language (phonology, grammar, lexis, discourse, speaking, listening, reading and writing) and equip course participants with the skills needed to analyse language for teaching purposes. The module will place emphasis on the use of pedagogic grammars and adopt a systemic/ functional approach to grammar. Particular attention will be given to the study of spoken and written discourse.

    Language Learning for TESOL
    This module will provide an overview of the key theories associated with language learning and language acquisition in the formal context of the classroom. It will offer module participants an opportunity to assess different approaches to the support of learning in a range of TESOL contexts.

    Materials Development for TESOL
    This module will examine the notion of ‘context’ in relation to the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Beginning with the classroom as context, participants will have an opportunity to develop their own interactional awareness as a means of promoting learning opportunity. The module will then consider the broader notion of ELT contexts in relation to the cultural politics of English as an international language and assess the impact that different contexts has on approaches to teaching and learning, assessment and the design and use of curricula and teaching materials.

    TESOL: Principles and Practices
    This module will consider the principles and practices of ELT methodology and trace developments over the past 20 years. From the advent of ‘the communicative approach’ to the current ‘post-method’ era, the course will examine a range of pedagogical issues and evaluate their impact on current classroom practice.

    Optional module: (20 CATS)
    One optional module may be chosen from those offered on the Educational Studies (MEd) programme including the following:

    Issues in Language Assessment for TESOL*
    This module explores a number of issues in assessment including the relationship between assessment and learning and the impact of assessment and testing on learning. It provides an overview of key assessment concepts of validity and reliability and considers various models of assessment practice. This module examines the notion of language proficiency for TESOL and current methods and practices in second language classroom-based assessment.
    *Students cannot take Assessment Issues in Teaching and Learning in Classrooms if taking this module.

    Digital Literacy and Communication
    The aim of this module is to examine the impact of new digital literacies upon language learning and TESOL. The module begins from a social practice view of literacy, which is then used as a lens to critically examine digital literacy in contemporary society, and its role in language education. Course participants will also examine methodologies that have been applied to researching language and literacy in digital environments. The module equips course participants with the skills needed to practically examine and analyse digital literacy in the lives of people, in institutions, and in wider society.

    People teaching you

    Dr Ibrar Bhatt
    Programme Director

    Dr Ibrar Bhatt is a Lecturer in Education at Queen’s University Belfast, a member of the SRHE’s Governing Council, and a convener of its ‘Digital University Network’. He specialises in research and teaching related to applied linguistics, literacy and writing studies, and Higher Education. His recent publications include the following monographs published by Routledge/T&F: ‘Assignments as Controversies: Digital Literacy & Writing in Classroom Practice’ and ‘Academics Writing: The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation’ (co-authored). He tweets at @ibrar_bhatt.

    Dr Mel Engman
    Module tutor


    Career Prospects

    Graduates have found their degree very beneficial in gaining employment in a range of teaching institutions worldwide, international agencies and examination bodies, and to gain promotion in their current workplace. Others progress to further doctoral-level studies and research.

    Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:

    Contact hours per semester

    Varies, depending on module choice and study mode (full-time/part-time).


    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through written assignments, including case studies, language analysis and coursebook evaluations.


    The Graduate School

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline plus evidence of relevant teaching experience (minimum of 30 hours).

    Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context plus evidence of relevant teaching experience (minimum of 30 hours).

    Closing date for applications: Tuesday 30th June 2020 at 4pm.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £6,140
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £6,900
    Other (non-UK) EU £6,140
    International £16,900

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages costs

    Students who choose to conduct dissertation research in Northern Ireland, involving participants under the age of 18, will be required to undergo an Enhanced Disclosure Check with Access NI costing £33.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus